March 25, 2011
OS House, Racine, WI
Johnsen Schmaling Architects
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) announced the winners of its 2011 Housing awards, and they are fantastic! From urban settings to rolling farmland to glacial lakes, the projects represent work from all over the country, with so many great ideas—edgy angles, fun curves, creative use of color, and lots and lots of glass.
Living well sustainably and affordably seemed to be key in this contest, which includes four award categories: One/Two Family Custom Housing, One/Two Family Production Housing, Multifamily Housing and Special Housing.
50 Saint Peter Street/Historic Salem Jail, Salem, MA
Finegold Alexander + Associates
The award was established a decade ago with the goal of “recognizing the best in housing design and promoting the importance of good housing as a necessity of life, a sanctuary for the human spirit and a valuable national resource.”
930 Poydras Residential Tower, New Orleans
The 18 winning projects were as different from one another as wildflowers in a field. Let your mind and imagination wander through them. It will be a fun trip from wherever you’re sitting, I promise.
(Oh, and while you’re at it, check out the story on the AIA website about Tokyo-based architect Shigeru Ban, Hon. FAIA, who has designed simple partitions for those living in shelters as a result of the recent earthquake/tsunami in Japan. Also very inspirational.)
September 3, 2010
Designers and architects, what do you think is the most important piece of architecture built in the last 30 years? Toyo Ito’s Mediatheque in Sendai, Japan? Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain? Vanity Fair magazine asked 90 of the world’s leading architects, teachers and critics to name the five most important buildings monuments, and bridges completed since 1980, as well as the most significant structure built so far in the 21st century.
Of the 52 experts who participated in the poll, including 11 Pritzker Prize winners and the deans of eight major architecture schools, 28 voted for the Guggenheim in Bilbao, a building, which, you may or may not recall, brought Philip Johnson to tears when it was unveiled in 1998. He later called Gehry “the greatest architect we have today” and his museum “the greatest building of our time.”
“Bilbao is truly a signal moment in the architectural culture,” said the Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Paul Goldberger, author of Why Architecture Matters. “The building blazed new trails…it was one of those rare moments when critics, academics, and the general public were all united about something.”
Gehry also received votes on three other projects: the Walt Disney Concert Hall, in Los Angeles; Millennium Park, in Chicago, and his own house in Santa Monica.
Read more about Gehry, the Guggenheim, and other top ranked buildings in the August 2010 issue of Vanity Fair or on the magazine’s website.
Photos courtesy of Mary Ann Sulllivan.
July 16, 2010
Call me crazy, but I love Detroit. Few do these days, and it’s a tragedy that this complex city is so devastated. But give it a try. The Detroit Jazz Fest, for example, is fabulous; you feel and hear the beating heart of the city’s great people. The Detroit Institute of Arts is redone and remarkable. Comerica Park is fun—go Tigers! Good restaurants. Concerts at the Fox Theatre. It’s all there, and so much more. Plus, the cars are competing again.
Sure, there are problems, to put it mildly. I admit that often while driving past the many bleak remains, I’ve thought it would be best to just bulldoze the crumbling husks and start over. Make a new city: smaller, well planned, green, with room to grow.
Trouble is, there are lots of buildings that may look ready for the wrecking ball, but are actually historic, architectural treasures that beg for preservation as the city is remade. But which ones stay and which ones go? The Detroit Free Press lets you express your opinion in an article called, “Be reasonable: Should these vacant Detroit buildings be saved?”
Be sure to check out the reader comments. You get a broad sense of people’s anguish, love, hope, and hopelessness. And while you’re at it, read this wonderful article by Free Press columnist Mitch Albom writing for SI.com: “The Courage of Detroit.”